What you see A sense of calm prevails at here, a cultural activity center cum book store for kids. There is free flowing space and greenery all around and right there in front of the entrance is a thriving Periwinkle tree in full bloom.
Pleasant and helpful staff behind a reception desk covered with pamphlets, brochures and magazines greet you inside. Across the walls are notice boards announcing the various workshops they hold. Further inside is a large dance hall with ceiling to floor mirrors covered with a couple of curtains on one wall and a corner bookshelf against the other. This room leads to four other rooms for music, conversations and books. Atop a few stairs (you are asked to leave your shoes below) is where you will find pictures of Goddess Saraswathi and Thyagaraja – it is a place where music lessons are taught. The place even houses an amphitheater.
What you get –This Hyderabad Resort was founded on November 14th (Children’s Day), 2003, by Anuradha Reddy. It is a unique concept to bring art and culture to kids, all under one roof.
Let’s start with the bookstore. It has a wide assortment of children’s books, spanning picture books like Grandpa’s Stories and Birbal to adventure books from Enid Blyton. Educational books on vowels and math and Quiz books by Derek O’Brien and Siddhartha Basu are available too. So are Do It Yourself books like How to make Puppets and How to make Masks. Kids will love the range of comics here – from Tintin and Asterix to Amar Chitra Katha’s Tenali Raman and Jataka Tales. And for art lovers there are even books for sketching and coloring.
That’s not all. Music books, Bible stories, a large collection of Indian authors like Rabindranath Tagore, Mahasweta Devi, Satyajit Ray and Ruskin Bond and complete collections of RK Narayan’s books find space here too. Murder and thriller mystery novels from Robert Ludlum, Agatha Christie, Dan Brown, Ken Follett and Jeffrey Archer and self-help books from Dale Carnegie eye for attention.
There is a range of traditional games as well, like Parama Pada Sopanam (Steps to the Highest Place), which is similar to Snakes and Ladders. It is played on a cloth instead of a board with squares up to 132 and against each snake are names of notorious characters from Hindu mythology like Ravan, Duryodhana and Bakasura. At the beginning of the ladders are virtues like honesty, hard work and courtesy. Talk of learning with fun.
Some of the other games here are Goli (marbles) at Rs. 50, Bambaram (top and string) at Rs. 75 and Kattam Vilayattu (the square game) at Rs. 80 to name a few.
Other bits and pieces available here are cloth bags, Bhagavat Gita, boxed wisdom cards, pretty notebooks, boxes of agarbatis and a limited range of stationery.
Carnatic Violin, Tabla, Mridangam, Piano, Carnatic Vocal, Shloka Chanting, Kuchipudi, Pottery, Yoga, Scrabble, Odissi Dance and Vedic Chanting are some of the classes and workshops offered by Saptaparni to students of all ages. Some of these classes even allow students as young as four years. Qualified and experienced instructors conduct all of the classes.
The open-air auditorium (seating capacity of 150) is let out for book readings and music concerts at Rs. 5,000 for five hours and the dance room at Rs. 2,500 for five hours.
Our verdict – This Hyderabad Resort for children seems like just the place for parents to take children to get them away from those computer games and television sets. It has books and activities for both children and parents, giving them more time to spend together while also learning art and music. There is plenty of parking space around.